The electric never went into production but was a testbed for zero emission vehicles.
In May 1990, Mercedes-Benz exhibited a model 190 (W 201) converted to electric drive at the Hanover Fair.
Later, in March 1991, Mercedes-Benz displayed a more advanced vehicle at the Geneva Motor Show.
Each rear wheel was powered by its own DC motor energised by permanent magnets with a peak power of 16 kW (22 hp) each, so the total power output was 32 kW (44 hp).
Energy was supplied by a sodium-nickel chloride battery, and regenerative braking returned energy to the power pack during braking.
The issue of electric cars experienced an upswing at that time as a result of the laws passed in California, for example, to introduce zero emission vehicles.
The pioneering 190s were driven by test participants on the island of Rugen, Germany: various individuals, including taxi drivers, used them in normal everyday life.
There were hardly any problems – the W 201 cars went about their work completely inconspicuously and reliably.
One of the vehicles was used particularly intensively and achieved a peak usage rate of around 100,000km in one year.
“The results provide new insights into battery service life, the number of possible discharge and charge cycles, range, energy consumption and reliability,” summarised the Mercedes-Benz brochure.